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Cultural Heritage Preservation in the Context of Climate Change Cultural Heritage Preservation in the Context of Climate Change Adaptation or Relocation: Barbuda as a Case Study

Adaptation or Relocation: Barbuda as a Case Study

Martha B. Lerski

The Graduate Center, City University of New York

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A master’s thesis submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Liberal Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, The City University of New York



© 2019

MARTHA B. LERSKI All Rights Reserved


Cultural Heritage Preservation in the Context of Climate Change Adaptation or Relocation: Barbuda as a Case Study


Martha B. Lerski

This manuscript has been read and accepted for the Graduate Faculty in Liberal Studies in satisfaction of the thesis requirement for the degree of Master of Arts.

Date David Halle

Thesis Advisor


Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis Acting Executive Officer




Cultural Heritage Preservation in the Context of Climate Change Adaptation or Relocation:

Barbuda as a Case Study


Martha B. Lerski

Advisor: David Halle

This case study introduces an arts camp methodology of engaging communities in identifying their key cultural heritage features, thus serving as a meta study. It presents original research based on field studies on the climate-vulnerable Caribbean island of Barbuda during 2017 and 2018. Its Valued Cultural Elements survey, enabling precise identification of key tangible and intangible art forms and biocultural practices, may serve as a basis for further studies. Such approaches may facilitate future research or planning as climate-vulnerable communities harness Local or

Indigenous Knowledge for purposes of biocultural heritage preservation, or towards adaptation or relocation. I report on findings in which participants identified key cultural heritage elements through drawings, paintings, sculpture, questionnaires and interviews. In this study focused on Barbuda both before and after Hurricane Irma, youth and adult stakeholders identified place-based cultural values, biocultural traditions and legal structures that they wish to preserve.

Keywords: cultural heritage, climate change, Barbuda, art, environmental vulnerability, Local Knowledge, stakeholder involvement, adaptation, culture, Caribbean, documentation, Small Island Developing State



Participating residents of the island of Barbuda made this study possible; thank you! Very special thanks to Principal Charlene Harris of the Holy Trinity Primary School, and to Sonia Harry, formerly of the Sir McChesney George Secondary School, for extensive assistance. Pastor Nigel Henry of the Barbuda Pentecostal Church generously offered the use of community space.

Professor David Halle kindly supervised my thesis at the Graduate Center (GC). Professor Sophia Perdikaris, Director of the Barbuda Research Complex, introduced me to stakeholders on the island of Barbuda and enabled me to plan and conduct two arts camp studies involving adults and children. Her support and knowledge provided a foundation for this project. Professor Erin Thompson critiqued my Valued Cultural Elements survey. Thanks to Andy Goldberg. The MALS program’s Student Research/Travel Award helped to fund my 2018 field study. GC Digital

Fellows, particularly Javier Otero Peña, assisted me with digital mapping. The Quantitative Research Consulting Center’s Deepali Advani suggested ways to scale up my study.

PSC-CUNY Travel Funds supported my travel to the Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit. At Lehman College, thank you to Madeline Cohen, Head of Reference, and Kenneth Schlesinger, Chief Librarian, who have encouraged my international and cultural heritage research.

I presented some findings in November 2018 at The Climate Crisis: A Global Dilemma event, sponsored by the Bangladeshi Students Association, at the University of Connecticut.

Muriel Leung’s 2017 help was invaluable. Bob McCloud encouraged me throughout. Any inaccuracies, misinterpretations or omissions are my own.



List of Figures………...vii

List of Tables………viii


The Primacy of Property Traditions as a Cultural Element………9

Literature Review………..11

Migration, Inequalities & Vulnerabilities………..13

Biocultural Diversity and Documentation Methodologies………21



Case Study of Community-Valued Elements: Climate-Vulnerable Barbuda Before and After Hurricane Irma………...30

Field Study I, 2017………31

Opening Questionnaire, Field Study I………...33

Drawings and Paintings, Field Study I ……….33

Sculpture and Collaborative Elements………... ……...34

Field Study II, 2018………...47

Themes in Valued Cultural Elements Survey………49

Young Children……….52



Children’s Art Work, 2018………... 57

Adults’ Art Work, 2018……….62

Closing Questionnaires, 2018………64

Analysis of Questionnaires, Art Work and Observations………..64


Suggestions for Methodology Revision and Future Study or Intervention………...74




Figure 1 Caves ...5

Figure 2 Codrington Estate Ruins, The Highlands ...5

Figure 3 Largest CO2 Producers………..16

Figure 4 World Carbon Emissions by Region……….20

Figure 5 Regional GDP, 2017………..20

Figure 6 UNESCO Endangered Languages: Island Carib, Extinct Language, Caribbean Region………24

Figure 7 Solomon Islands Endangered Languages………..24

Figure 8 Ginepe Tree………...32

Figure 9 Palm Tree………...32

Figure 10 Collaborative Sculpture, 2017………...38

Figure 11 Group Work………...38

Figure 12 Spanish Point……….39

Figure 13 Watercolor Painting of Feet in Sand, 2017, Child Participant………..40

Figure 14 Coal Pot Sculpture, 2017, Adults………..42

Figure 15 Sunset, 2017, Child………46

Figure 16 Land Tortoise, 2017………...46

Figure 17 Independence Day Celebration Drawing, Child, 2018………..48

Figure 18 Children Group Sculpture, 2018………59

Figure 19 Child with Dog, Drawing, 2018………60

Figure 20 “I love to be home” Drawing, 2018………...61

Figure 21 Whale, sea and sun………61

Figure 22 Stone Heap Storytelling Drawing, 2018………63

Figure 23 Straw Brooms Drawing, 2018………...63

Figure 24 Frigate Bird Drawing……….76

Figure 25 Hibiscus Flower Drawing………..77



Table 1 Opening Questionnaire, Children, Field Study I………...31

Table 2 Opening Questionnaire, Adults, 2017………...36

Table 3 2017 Drawings and Paintings, Children………37

Table 4 2017, Adults, Paintings & Drawings……….41

Table 5 Individual & Group Drawings, Adults, Field Study II………..41

Table 6 Closing Questionnaire, Children, 2017……….44

Table 7 Closing Questionnaire, Adults, 2017……….45

Table 8 Valued Cultural Elements/Children………...50

Table 9 Valued Cultural Elements/Adolescents……….51

Table 10 Valued Cultural Elements/Adults………..53

Table 11 2018 Drawings and Paintings, Children………59

Table 12 Closing Questionnaire, Children, 2018……….66

Table 13 Closing Questionnaire, Adults, 2018……….67



Preserving cultural heritage in the context of climate change requires an understanding of place-based traditions and values. It also demands physical and intellectual infrastructures to support planning, documentation, sharing of knowledge, and adaptation. This case study

illustrates the significance of understanding local cultural heritage values as they relate to climate change preparation, adaptation or relocation. Barbuda’s cultural heritage is heavily influenced by its land as well as its legal traditions regarding the land, particularly the Barbuda Land Act of 2007, which reinforced centuries-old property traditions on the island. Stakeholders identified place-based cultural values, biocultural traditions and legal structures that they wish to preserve.

The art work created by participants during my field work, and the arts camp interactions themselves, confirmed what participants reported in several surveys throughout the course of this case study. Preserving cultural heritage in the time of climate change is a process that must involve local stakeholders (Eakin & Luers, 2006; Climate & Traditional Knowledges

Workgroup, 2014; Ataur Rahman & Rahman, 2015; Bradley & Cohen in Faist & Schade, 2013).

Such work can be supported by a wide range of disciplinary knowledge concerning the related and interdependent economic, sociological, anthropological, historical, political, religious, legal and environmental issues. I provide templates for further field work and documentation.

At this critical time for the planet and for the preservation of both its people’s cultural heritage and the environment which sustains human and other life forms, this thesis will focus on cultural heritage identification, protection and sustainability—in the context of climate change adaptation or relocation (Advancing Communities, 2017; Asian Development Bank, 2012;

Nesbit, 2018;Pilkey, O., Pilkey-Jarvis, L., & Pilkey, K., 2016; Hastrup, & Fogg, 2012). While the United States federal government has recently tried to erase the term “climate change” from


its lexicon (McKibben, 2017), Native American tribes have continued climate adaptation planning (Northern Arizona University, 2019; Advancing Communities, 2017), something that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was doing before 2017, via a once-dynamic case study portal (Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center, 2017).

The thesis is grounded in one completed case study on the rising-seas and hurricane-hit island of Barbuda, which raises some issues likely to face other countries, cultures and peoples as climate change accelerates. The data are pulled from my two art camps held on the island, one in August of 2017, and one in November of 2018. My case study is supported by a review of climate change and cultural heritage literatures, including issues relating to current and

impending immigration, economic and other inequalities and vulnerabilities as well as cultural- heritage knowledge systems of indigenous peoples that have the potential to both prevent and remediate climate change damage.

Writing in the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, David Lempert (2010b) urges social scientists and rights and legal activists to take immediate action to identify cultures—imperfect as those measures may be, not as an exercise in creating a perfect document, as “this is not a definitive cultural database and is only a device for the purposes of political protection of groups” (p. 547). His idea of a Red Book is to “standardize and codify the threats to cultures,” and to “establish a baseline of cultural health measures so that liability can be imputed for worsening conditions” (p. 532). Similar identification and classification projects that inspired the Cultural Red Book idea are The Red List of Threatened Species, the Red Book of Endangered Languages, the Re Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire, and the Minorities at Risk Project. My case study endeavors to extend those aims to assist with proactively protecting


communities’ identified valued elements, and serves as a pilot project through which cultural element categories, arts camp format, and potential repository infrastructure are explored.

As a practicing librarian with a Master’s degree in Library Science and advanced studies in digital libraries, I chose to develop a “Valued Cultural Elements” template to contribute to broader efforts to protect cultural heritage as well as to eventually ground data in vetted, sustainable, interoperable and accessible collection systems (Rhizome ArtBase, 2002; R.

Rossanova, Email to M. Lerski. Re: Query re Rhizome’s artist database and selection of which features to preserve, personal communication, December 17, 2018; M. B. Lerski & E. Holdorf, MAD Collection and Conservation Policy re Ephemeral Art, personal communication,

November 5, 2018; Museum of Arts and Design. Collection Management Policy, 2008; Getty Research Institute, 2006; Woodley, 2008; Baca, 2003; Harpring, 2010: Tapfuma & Hoskins, 2016).

Along with a 2018 study, “Rediscovering the potential of indigenous storytelling for conservation practice,” (Fernández‐ Llamazares, & Cabeza), Virginia Nazarea’s 2006 “Local Knowledge and Memory in Biodiversity Conservation,” argues that it is not enough to develop sterile database categories separate from active and ongoing engagement with peoples whose cultures are being documented. Cultural context and nuances grounded in local knowledge systems and communities reflect “interior landscapes” that “are mapped onto exterior landscapes through objects and stories that stimulate sensory recall and affective engagement (p. 330).

The field research component of this paper was conducted under guidance of IRB protocol 2017-0860, “Cultural Heritage Preservation in the Context of Climate Change

Adaptation or Relocation: Arts Education in Barbuda.” I completed my case study in Barbuda in November of 2018. My first visit to the island took place in January, 2017, at which time I


toured historic wells with Brooklyn College Earth and Environmental Sciences professor, Rebecca Boger. She was checking water levels as part of ongoing environmental studies on the island through the Barbuda Research Complex (BRC) (Island Studies Journal, 2014). Barbuda, as a flat, erosion and rising-sea and flood-prone island susceptible to damage from Climate Change, was a natural place to conduct my own field studies.

That visit I also participated in archeological excavations through the Barbuda

Archeological Research Center (BARC), a subset of the BRC, and also under the direction of Dr.

Sophia Perdikaris, then at the Graduate Center and Brooklyn College. I joined the international archeological collaboration which included Brooklyn College students, Archeologist Sandrine Grouard of Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle of Paris conducting an ongoing Pre-

Colombian excavation, and also Dr. Allison Bain’s, Université Laval, Canadian team’s archeological work on the Highlands British colonial site. The community approved research center facilitated my study.

As I learned about the island, its history and its people, what at first glance struck me as odd—the complete disrepair of the Highlands sight, made sense on multiple levels. First, the economic resources on the island were minimal, and understandably, were focused on local schools, services and day to day living. It also became evident that the traditions and culture most valued by the island’s current residents, overwhelmingly those of African descent from those people originally brought as slaves under colonial rule, were those that celebrated their freedom from British rule and which celebrated the land—its communal legal structure, its surrounding ocean, its plants, trees and sky. Deep and lingering negative associations linking agriculture and slavery may, however, be holding islanders back from maximizing their land’s potential to grow crops, found several researchers (Boger et al., 2014). During my August 2017


field visit, I was struck by the difficulty of obtaining locally-grown fruits that I had hoped to provide as snacks during the arts camps, though the economy is subsistence, not market oriented.

Figure 1. Caves. Source: Martha Lerski

Figure 2. Codrington Estate Ruins, The Highlands. Source: Martha Lerski


Apart from its archeological history and traces of Indigenous Peoples (Perdikaris et al., 2013; Potter, Chenoweth & Day, 2017) who once lived or passed through there, the eastern Caribbean island that is now Barbuda was in 1685 leased to the Codrington family by the Britain under Charles II (Frank, 2017, p. 5). Because the island’s landscape was drought-prone—with thin soil that was not suitable for large plantations but rather supported the provision of meat, leather and wood for the island of Antigua—its “slaves were not subject to the tyranny of the plantation system and did not experience the day to day hardship that slaves on some other major plantation islands in the Caribbean endured.” Thus, the “lifestyle on Barbuda allowed the slaves almost to retain the freedom that they had had in Africa and essentially did not completely destroy all their cultural traditions and routines” (Frank, 2017, p. 6) In 1834, Britain

emancipated slaves in its colonies and on August 1 of that year, Barbudan slaves were granted independence (p. 9).

My second visit to the island took place in August 2017. Because a Category 5 Level Hurricane hit Barbuda in September of that year (The New York Times, 2017), and given the resulting—unfortunate—next step to follow up with a community already being researched re immediate impacts to perceptions of valued cultural elements, I made a return field visit to the community after most of the inhabitants had returned to the island from relocation to a sister island (Price, 2017; Boger & Perdikaris, 2019). This follow up study enabled me to consider an emerging situation regarding how communities adapt to relocation and also adaptation upon return. As I noted in my presentation at the The Climate Crisis: A Global Dilemma event at the University of Connecticut in November of 2018, the Barbuda case gives some warning of issues that may face other climate refugees. Here, I will draw upon readings and my field research to


explore potential proactive methods of documenting and preserving communities’ cultural traditions.

Let me begin by affirming that—despite official climate change denial in the country where my university is domiciled —I will accept as accurate multiple studies, including those listed below that document the existence of climate change and its risks: “Assessing ‘Dangerous Climate Change’: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature” (Hansen, et al., 2013); National security and human health implications of climate change (Fernando, Klaic, & McCulley, 2012); “A Comparison of Two Global

Datasets of Extreme Sea Levels and Resulting Flood Exposure: Comparison of Global Extreme Sea Levels” (Muis et al., 2017); “Increased Threat of Tropical Cyclones and Coastal Flooding to New York City During the Anthropogenic Era,” Reed et al., 2015; Retreat from a rising sea:

Hard choices in an age of climate change, (Pilkey, & Pilkey-Jarvis, & Pilkey, 2016); and Why are we waiting?: The logic, urgency, and promise of tackling climate change (Stern, 2015).

I make reference to an underlying understanding of the science of Climate Change whether or not legal experts have been able to construct a refugee or victim-protecting definition or category for what constitutes migration-inducing or broader “environmental triggers” that cause individuals or entire communities to resettle either temporarily or permanently (McAdam, 2011; Biermann, & Boas, I.; 2010; Nansen Initiative on Disaster-Induced Cross-Border

Displacement, 2016).

I call upon research and instruction in courses during my Graduate Center Individualized Studies track, “Cultural Heritage Preservation in the Context of Climate Change Adaptation or Relocation.” While my research focus is on the preservation of cultural heritage, because the topic is specifically “in the context of climate change adaptation or relocation,” multiple


disciplines contribute to an understanding of interrelated elements. These disciplines include Law, Anthropology, Psychology, Art, Art History, Archeology, Economics, Sociology, Political Science, Philosophy and Environmental Sciences. Of particular relevance are studies that explain how local environmental or indigenous knowledge relate to cultural heritage or to a symbiotic relationship between the health of the two.

Cultural preservation is related to the health of physical and biological environments (Pretty et al, 2009; Advancing Communities, 2017). While ancient or Indigenous Peoples have also depleted their environments (Harrison & Maher, 2014; Kirsch, P. V., 2005), scientists and policy-makers currently “acknowledge the role that local practices can play in biodiversity conservation,” whereas “state-imposed” approaches have failed or lacked integrity (Pretty et al., p. 103).

Healthy ecosystems support human mental health, not simply the environment or physical well-being, and are in turn protected by Indigenous respect for cultural heritage

(MacDonald, Willox, Ford, Shiwak & Wood, 2015). Reflecting on Indigenous awareness about specific medicinal and nutritional knowledge in South Africa, one expert Langton (1998) noted that representatives from Western industries, governments and science “overlook the fact that many of these complex and biodiversity-rich resources have long been cared for and managed by indigenous peoples, who point out that these are not ‘natural resources’ but cultural landscapes”

(Ngulube, 2017).

On the island of Barbuda, an increasing number of residents are diabetic, whereas the population used to rely on local foods gathered and hunted before the importation of processed foods (Daily Observer, 2018; Boger et al., 2014; Potter, Chenoweth & Day, 2017). Soda


appeared as a food category element mentioned by children in the 2018 “Valued Cultural Elements” questionnaire.

Disassociation from the land is reflected in impacts to the critical aquifer, and the land erosion signaling current vulnerability to rising seas. Some mangroves have been cleared to make way for tourist development (Potter, p. 8). The island has been selling sand rights, something that has faced legal opposition (Barbudaful, sand mining; Potter, p. 8) yet the

continuing formal agreement, even after Hurricane Irma, is puzzling as the mining is consistent and large scale, as opposed to the kind of sand theft by individuals that has been reported in Barbuda as well as other Caribbean islands (Associated Press, 2008). This issue of the selling of a critical commodity—that effects aquifer as well as the beaches that are not only part of the island’s tourist attraction but protect the island’s fresh water aquifer as well as against land erosion—raises a red flag about tradeoffs that will increasingly face climate-change vulnerable states. Here, official government contracts, controlled by a sister but different government body, take precedence over current visible loss and future environmental protection to the local

community whose resources are being exploited to benefit outside entities or investors whose priorities are not those of the local community (Frank, pp. 17-24, 2017; Klein & Brown, 2018).

Diminishing water aquifer in Barbuda highlights a growing concern worldwide; for instance, countries such as Saudi Arabia and China are facing irrigation stresses for their agriculture and are relying on importation of key foods due to diminished water supplies in deep aquifers (Nesbit, 2018).

The Primacy of Property Traditions as a Cultural Element

One key finding of my research is that in Barbuda cultural perceptions and traditions relating to the land are among the most deeply-held heritage values. The community’s current


and historical relationship to, and legal rights regarding, communal ownership of land are primary cultural heritage elements. As I had visited the island once before I commenced formal research, I was attuned to that element; however, I am aware how easily a parachuting/one-visit research trip could easily miss aspects of key cultural elements. Even for those whose culture is at hand, the significance of a unique element might not be particularly protected or

documented—just as with any culture or individual who takes what is pervasive for granted.

While visiting the island in November 2018, I met the Frank family who have been active in Barbuda Land rights, and I call upon the book, Dreamland Barbuda: A study of the history and development of communal land ownership on the island (2017), by Asha Frank, currently a member of the Barbuda Council. Dreamland Barbuda includes interviews with local figures and also pulls on research she conducted in England and in Antigua—gathering from historical and legal documents that are scattered across the British Commonwealth.


Literature Review

Several papers explore the link between agricultural practices and cultural traditions. This is significant to my study not only because the environment and Cultural Heritage are each influenced by the other, but because one must consider that this interrelationship is already being tested in places that are not making headlines regarding hurricane or flood-related evacuations.

For instance, recurring droughts are predicted to result in “more widespread desertification, a loss in soil nutrients and fertility that diminishes agricultural production” (Piguet, Pecoud &

Guchteneire, 2011, p. 331). Studies focusing on “Cultural Impacts to Tribes from Climate Change Influences on Forests,” (Voggesser et al., 2012) or Porgoren traditional practices in Papau New Guinea related to a community’s nuanced understandings of shifts in the

environment (Jacka, 2016), indicate the value of protecting knowledge systems. Stakeholder and local knowledge can benefit communities, enabling shared knowledge and the possibility of responding to subtle signs of change.

A 2015 article by Kuruppu and Willie in Weather and Climate Extremes illuminates social, political and economic factors unique to less developed, small island states, and argues for deliberate and sustained inclusion of stakeholder input, something which my field studies and questionnaires aimed to do.

Bangladeshi coastal communities (Ataur Rahman & Rahman, 2015) face challenges from the introduction of high-yielding rice methods introduced by the International Rice Research Institute, abandonment or loss of knowledge about traditional methods, and diminished intergenerational knowledge sharing. Native American peoples have long addressed

environmental threats such as droughts, crop diminution, or invasive species: “tribal cultures have adapted subsistence strategies and socio-economic systems in response to climate and fire


regimes for millennia” (Voggesser, p. 617). However, modern national and other political boundaries often prevent adaptation or exacerbate political tensions (Maldonado, Shearer, Bronen, Peterson & Lazrus, 2013). For instance, Native American tribes are confined to

reservations within defined geographic parameters, with many of those boundaries being forced relocations to less desirable land (Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit, 2017). Low- lying island peoples share similar mobility restrictions, with limited options for adaptation due to both political and tight geographic boundaries (Maldonado et al., p. 603).

Though studies by Davis, Hooghe, Marks, & Stephens (2011); Havekes et al. (2015) and Whiting-Pierce (2017) suggest that local or regional approaches may be most effective, national boundaries present looming obstacles or legal justifications to protect citizens’ access to scarce resources. For example, with the melting of ice from the Himalayas, diminished river flows may be diverted to those countries who are further upstream, leaving some countries without access to drinking and agricultural water (Nesbit, 2018; Fernando et al., 2012; Carrington, 2016), and potentially triggering political and military conflict and migration.

Populations have adapted to or relocated in relation to environmental change over

archeological time (Hastrup & Fogg, 2012; Kirsch, 2005) but the human population continues to increase, with the number of people on earth having grown by more than 400% during the 20th Century and the current world population is 1,860 times larger than 12,000 years ago (Roser, World in Data). While we have planes, boats and trains to transport people, food and water insecurities and national boundaries make migrations highly complex.

In Barbuda, economic vulnerability in the advent of a climate disaster played out with little opportunity for residents to protect their established legal rights:

for investors with big dreams, the Barbuda Land Act was also highly


inconvenient. It placed limits on the length of their leases, the footprint of their properties, and the infrastructure that could service them. It also required a great deal of democratic engagement with the island’s residents, as opposed to the usual top-down deals. (Klein & Brown, 2018)

Migration, Inequalities & Vulnerabilities

One might think that internal displacements in reaction to climate change would be culturally or psychologically easier on migrants than relocations outside of national borders. As my case study and post-Hurricane news of Barbuda indicate, this is not necessarily so. (Boger &

Perdikardis, 2019; Carrington, 2016; Scruggs, 2017; Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2019). Recognizing nuanced differences in cultural practices even within political boundaries, will be important, as “there is a general consensus that the majority of people likely to be displaced by the effects of climate change in the next century will be displaced inside their own countries, rather than across international borders” (Piguet et al., p. 289; Carmain et al., 2015, p.

183). Also, internal and international migration are generally associated (Asian Development Bank, 2012, p. 72).

The question of definitions relating to migration, migrants, evacuees or climate change itself is not an abstract consideration. Definitions regarding “climate,” or environmentally- triggered migrations—“refugee” or “migrant evacuation,” “preemptive relocation” or

“resettlement,” determine levels of support or individuals’ ability to enter countries (Ferris, p.9).

Political systems are another reflection of culture and of political voice—or lack thereof.

Political agency is one of the assets which individuals and groups have which shape migration capabilities along with hard or soft resources. “Whether migration is an expression of


vulnerability or capability depends to a large extent on the degree of freedom or choice for exit or voice or a combination of the two (Faist & Schade, p. 12). In addition to underlying political institutions and frameworks for communication or redress, economic systems such as state- imposed solutions or market-driven approaches influence whether cultural traditions will be considered or consulted when devising proactive strategies, adaptive responses, remediative actions or deciding upon policies related to forced evacuation or integration of internal or external refugees.

Studies on equitable impacts of economic policies that proactively address carbon

emissions must consider inequalities within regions or nations. (Arora, 2014; Clarke-Sather, Qu, Wang, Zeng, & Li, 2011; Davies, Xiaojun, & Whalley, 2014; Piketty & Qian, 2009). For

instance, in India the regions rich in natural resources but low in human development/birth mortality are the highest emitters of greenhouse gasses within the nation, which contrasts with the macro perspective that countries with lower GDPs generally contribute less carbon to the planet (Davis, & Caldeira, 2010; Pretty, 2013). As the Barbuda case illuminates, politically- affiliated communities can have unequal economic profiles.

The disproportionate impact of climate change, or of carbon-reducing preventative polices, on poor regions or subnational districts such as provinces or states, or even within different economic classes within one region can create volatile political environments. Recent

“yellow vest” political developments in France (Nossiter, Rubin, & Breeden, 2018)the country which hosted the Paris Climate Accord, illustrate that proportional burden sharing should be considered in implementing proactive planning as well as in post-disaster relief efforts. The general question of economic inequality inside nations and between nations is explored by such writers as Branko Milanovic (2011, 2016), and Thomas Piketty (2009, 2014) and has tremendous


impact on the likely success of stakeholder buy-in regarding proactive economic, scientific, political, medical or cultural interventions to prevent or mitigate both the anticipated and already-evident impacts of Climate Change.

A question that comes to mind with regard to distribution of costs for lowering carbon emissions in China, where there may be a need for technology transfers to support clean

technologies for less developed western provinces, raises a global issue: Should carbon taxes, or deterrents such as caps on coal use (Zhang, Karplus, Qi, Zhang & He, 2016) for wealthier places be employed to support development of clean technologies across territories or states –more broadly—in countries or internationally?

This awareness of regional differences, and the need to consider micro management as well as national or regional-level policies, is also relevant to government approaches to

preserving cultural assets; cultural artifacts or traditions of remote areas may nevertheless be significant environmentally, culturally or economically to the nation as a whole. In a broader sense, the underlying likelihood of large numbers of migrants moving due to climate change is a fundamental reason to plan ahead for how peoples will both preserve and be able to call upon their cultural heritage in new surroundings.

In movements such as “circular migration” that may not be as visible as post-disaster dislocations, many individuals leave home in response to environmental conditions—a mode of coping whereby migrants send remittances to home countries or gain skills and assets at host locations. These are early “means to avoid uncontrolled migration and flight due to adverse living conditions in a warming world. Here migration evolves into a coping strategy to handle those resource base problems” (Faist, p. 9; Guardian, 2016).


Figure 3. Largest CO2 Producers. Source: Statista, 2019

As drought and desertification increase across the globe, “there is now a growing understanding that those in rural communities struggling with persistent drought and desertification may engage in migration as a coping strategy,” write Piguet, Pecoud and Guchteneire in Migration and Climate Change (2011; Environmental Migration Portal, 2019).

Because Barbudans’ relocation to nearby Antigua provided a context of geographic proximity for relocation, the situation provides a window on coping strategies in inter-border climate migrations. Some of the August 2017 camp participants had not returned from Antigua by November of 2018.

Temporary migration may be one coping strategy, either inter or extra borders, as a response to natural disasters as well as to slow onset climate changes. “No Matter of Choice:

Displacement in a Changing Climate,” illustrates impacts of slow onset events in small island developing states (SIDS), noting multiple causes such as sea-level rise, sea surface temperature,


ocean acidification and ocean oxygen depletion that have impacts on fish stocks, groundwater, agriculture, tourism and displacement outcomes (IDMC, 2018). Barbudans were forcibly evacuated from their island after the devastation of a Category 5 hurricane, Irma, was

immediately followed by the threat of another hurricane, Jose, in September 2017. By late 2018, Barbudans were returning to their home island as schools returned and houses were being rebuilt (Boger & Perdikaris, 2019).

With increasing coastal erosion and the possibility of more frequent high-intensity

hurricanes, communities such as Barbuda must prepare for the possibility of further dislocations.

Increasing sea temperatures are correlated with increased intensity and destruction of hurricanes, cyclones and flooding (Biermann & Boas, 2010, p. 68)

Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, has long warned of the permanent displacement of hundreds of millions of people by the middle of this century due to flooding, drought and rising sea levels (2006), but given slow progress towards reducing carbon emissions, his warnings are increasingly dire. “On the basis of current plans or trajectories of different countries, we could be heading to a median increase of 4°C, a temperature not seen on the planet for tens of millions of years. Its

consequences could be catastrophic” (2015, p. xiii).

In addition to climate-driven political, national security and economic consequences for millions, medical risks are increasing—from illnesses related to more mosquito borne diseases, to famine, to disaster pollution and lack of sanitation. Writing in 2014, the Journal of the

American Medical Association’s editors, Howard Bauchner and Phil Fontanarosa warned that “it is critical to recognize that climate change poses the same threat to health as the lack of

sanitation, clean water, and pollution did in the early 20th century.” With the addition of


migration and cross border logistics and regulations, managing communicable or disaster-related diseases will pose severe challenges.

An understanding of mental health implications should be anticipated as well, and it is my argument that preparing climate-vulnerable peoples for displacement via proactive

identification and protection of key cultural elements, is a worthwhile endeavor that supports social well-being of individuals and communities. David Lempert’s proposed categories to assess cultural well-being provide specific attributes to identify key elements of potential vulnerability (2010b).

With migration, impacts are felt both in the home countries of those who migrate as well as in the host countries to which people immigrate. Reese, Rosenmann and McGarty, writing in the European Journal of Social Psychology, note that nuanced understandings enable both hosts and displaced persons to engage. “In a world that forces and entices individuals to leave their countries of origin, it is increasingly important to understand how attachment to specific locales affects well-being, and ultimately, behavior towards new host countries” (2015). This calls for holistic planning perspectives and emphases beyond international development projects’

promotion of “disembodied productivity” (Lempert, 2010b, p. 520) –towards a model embracing both “security/wealth and sustainability/human diversity. “What if the stable human cultural diversity were recognized as the real key to sustainability and growth, and not vice versa?” asks Lawyer, Development Consultant and Anthropologist, Lempert (pp. 517-18).

Less developed nations are those countries anticipated to most severely experience climate change. Those identified as having high climate exposure but low resilience include, Eritrea, Burundi, Niger, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Chad, Burkina Fasso, Haiti, Malawi, Sudan, Senegal, Bangladesh, Mauritania and India (Fernando et al., 2012, p. 8). Disadvantaged peoples are less


able to adapt; weak civil societies, inequalities, and restricted access to such resources as law or justice make climate change make dislocations even more complex (Faist & Schade, 2013, p.

11). “Slow onset” migration, not easily attributable to climate changes because no one disaster marks migrations, also occurs with communities such as Barbuda with inadequate fresh water or which suffer from temperature fluctuations that inhibit agricultural production. Poorer

communities have less adaptive resilience (Piguet et al., 2011, pp. 131, 99).

Figures 4 and 5 below indicate that, with the exception of the Asia Pacific region, the regions with the lowest levels of carbon emissions correspond to the “high climate exposure but low resilience” categories identified by Fernando et al.. In addition to the scientific,

infrastructure, and economic preparations that communities and countries should be preparing, it is incumbent on the world community to assist climate vulnerable communities to document, preserve and sustain their most valued cultural elements as peoples migrate to relocate or adapt to climate changes. Still, local stakeholders know their cultures and their environments best. An example of effective planning for adaptation to climate change is undertaken by many Native American tribes in the United States. For instance, retrieved from an adaptation planning toolkit dashboard, looking at one Alaskan tribe’s adaptation plan, with its specific references to

keystone plants and cultural traditions, one has a sense of the opportunities for place-specific community proactive and remedial actions (Northern Arizona University, 2019; Metlakatla Indian Community, 2017).


Figure 4. World Carbon Emissions by Region. Source: BP, In Statista - The Statistics Portal

Figure 5. Regional GDP, 2017. Source: IMF, In Statista - The Statistics Portal


My research has drawn upon and been in response to many studies, including: Advancing Communities Tribal Summit; “Natural and Traditional Defense Mechanisms to Reduce Climate Risks in Coastal Zones of Bangladesh (Ataur Rahman & Rahman, 2015); “Preparing for a Warmer World: Towards a Global Governance System to Protect Climate Refugees” (Biermann, F. & Boas, I., 2010); “Carbon Inequality at the Subnational Scale: A Case Study of Provincial- level Inequality in CO₂ Emissions in China” (Clarke-Sather et al., 2011); Inequality, Climate Impacts on the Future Poor, and Carbon Prices (Dennig, Budolfson, Fleurbaey, Siebert, &

Socolow (2015); Dreamland Barbuda: A Study of the History and Development of Communal Land Ownership on the Island (Frank, 2017); The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (Kolbert, 2014);” A Call to Anthropologists to Develop a Red Book for Endangered Cultures”

(Lempert, 2010a); “Protective Factors for Mental Health and Well-Being in a Changing Climate:

Perspectives From Inuit Youth in Nunatsiavut, Labrador” (MacDonald, Willox, Ford, Shiwak,

& Wood, 2015); “Environmental Heritage and the Ruins of the Future” (Matthes, 2017);

“Agenda for the Protection of Cross-Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change” (Nansen Initiative on Disaster-Induced Cross-Border Displacement, 2016);

Retreat From a Rising Sea: Hard Choices in an Age of Climate Change (Pilkey, Pilkey-Jarvis &

Pilkey, 2016); “Rhizome ArtBase: Appendix D: Artist Questionnaire” (2002); and “Adaptive Governance: Tools for Ecotopian and Democratic Politics” (Whiting-Pierce, 2017).

Biocultural Diversity and Documentation Methodologies

The following studies and conferences address or illustrate an increasing recognition that cultural and biological diversity and well-being are linked: Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit (2017); “Natural and Traditional Defense Mechanisms to Reduce Climate Risks in Coastal Zones of Bangladesh” (Ataur Rahman & Rahman, 2015); “Correlating Local Knowledge


with Climatic Data: Porgeran Experiences of Climate Change in Papua New Guinea”

(Jacka,2016) ; “Why We Need a Cultural Red Book for Endangered Cultures, NOW: How Social Scientists and Lawyer/Rights Activists Need to Join Forces” (2010); “Local Knowledge and Memory in Biodiversity Conservation (Nazarea, 2006); “The Intersections of Biological Diversity and Cultural Diversity: Towards Integration” (Pretty et al., 2009); “Visibility and Accessibility of Indigenous Knowledge on Open Access Institutional Repositories at Universities in Africa” (Tapfuma & Hoskins, 2016); and “Cultural Impacts to Tribes From Climate Change Influences on Forests” (Voggesser, Lynn, Daigle, Lake & Ranco (2013).

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is producing a working paper, "Indigenous Languages as Tools for Understanding and Preserving Biodiversity,” noting a “fundamental linkage between language and traditional knowledge (TK) related to biodiversity,” as “Local and indigenous communities have elaborated complex

classification systems for the natural world, and that “environmental knowledge is embedded in indigenous names, oral traditions and taxonomies, and can be lost when a community shifts to another language “ (UNESCO, Culture). In addition, The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of indigenous Languages.

A 2018 Finnish study recommends on site storytelling events by which biocultural efforts could also include conservation initiatives (Fernandez-Llamazares & Cabeza, 2018). However, the authors caution against colonial methods, infringement of intellectual property,

misinterpretation and mistranslation, and insensitivity to privacy regarding secrets. These concerns mirror those raised by the Climate and Traditional Knowledges Workgroup (2014).

Further, Philosopher Erich Hatala Matthes, writing in “Cultural Appropriation without Cultural Essentialism?” cautions against lumping people in to one cultural marker or group, such as race,


as individuals may represent a range of categories such as religions, gender identity, and are not homogenous (2016, p. 356).


Though the Caribbean has only one language on the UNESCO list of endangered

languages, and that language is already extinct, that database may still be useful for other studies aiming to proactively identify language-vulnerable cultures. Languages are a recognized proxy for cultural health (Lempert, 2010b, p. 535] and reflect place-based nuances and adaptive perspectives on seasons and geography (Rose, 2005); endangered languages may flag their speakers’ vulnerability in the face of climate changes. It is important to approach data with caution, however—not taking what is presented as indicating that face value represents total value with regard to potential omissions; for instance, though only one “extinct” language is noted for the Caribbean region in the UNESCO Endangered Languages database, a study, “The Cultural Mosaic of the Indigenous Caribbean,” indicates that there were a multitude of “mutually unintelligible“ languages (Wilson, 1993, p. 59) beyond an Arawak and Carib-only

“oversimplification” at the time European conquest (Wilson, S., 1993).

To illustrate this Endangered Language resource, below is a screenshot from the UNESCO database relating to the Caribbean region, where the cultures of native peoples have largely disappeared. The map of the rising-seas-endangered Pacific Island Solomon Islands serve here as a proxy for a location with both extreme language and climate vulnerability. The

metadata fields of the database are useful tools for those documenting cultural heritage. For instance, the fields use standard notations for how to report latitude and longitude coordinates, include an International Standard for Organization language code, and names identified


languages as expressed, and possibly searched for, in different languages other than the primary language used by the database. UNESCO’s coordinates and identified endangerment categories enabled me to create a visual of one proxy for cultural endangerment in a specific, small island developing state (SID), region.

Figure 6. UNESCO Endangered Languages: Island Carib, Extinct Language, Caribbean Region.

Source: Moseley, C. (2010) Moseley, Christopher. Atlas of the world’s languages in danger. Paris, UNESCO Publishing. Online version:

Figure 7. Solomon Islands Endangered Languages. Source: Moseley, C. (2010) Moseley,

Christopher. Atlas of the world’s languages in danger. Paris, UNESCO Publishing. Online version.

CARTO Mapping Tool


My Valued Cultural Elements Survey is an early iteration of a questionnaire that will methodically record stakeholders’ identified cultural elements, while allowing enough flexibility for varied expressions across different communities. Some of the inspiration for this came from the now-dormant Rhizome Artbase implemented as an artists’ questionnaire that enabled digital artists to designate what they wished to preserve, and how (2002). The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage (2003) and the MAD (Museum of Arts &

Design) Collection Management Policy (2008) alerted me to the importance of providing categories for documenting, and for prompts to participants to make note of their ephemeral heritage.

“Research Priorities for Conservation and Natural Resource Management in Oceania's Small‐ island Developing States,” (2018) examines which questions are most important to SIDs in that region, in order to establish which collected elements of biodiversity information will be useful for stakeholders. This approach may be useful also for future cultural documentation research. The authors, Weeks and Adams note that “Answering these questions will require both ecological and social‐ science research, most of which would be best undertaken in close

collaboration with practitioners in the region." For instance, question 34 asked, “How can we combine the best modern science with the best indigenous and local knowledge as a basis for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in Oceania?" This perspective indicates that cultural knowledge has the potential to assist with environmental and biodiversity sustainability.

Open access repositories are a developing digital structure for storage and search. Along with concerns expressed in Tapfuma & Hoskin’s (2016) study, an organization such as the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative was created specifically to address protection of environmental elements (EDGI, 2019). Cultural memory and local knowledge “serve as


repositories of alternative choices that keep cultural and biological diversity flourishing”

(Nazarea, 2006, 318). I will conclude by suggesting methodologies how to scale this study by, for instance, incorporating coding standards and controlled vocabularies.



Barbuda’s situation illustrates a case of a small island developing state; while its sister island and part of the joint nation state, Antigua, (Potter, p. 8) is more developed economically, Barbudans’ political voices were ignored when the island was vulnerable during and after the crisis of a major hurricane (Boger & Perdikaris, 2019; Frank, 2017; Klein & Brown, 2018; The Conversation, 2018; Faiola, Schmidt & Fisher, 2017). “We suffered one disaster with Hurricane Irma but that was followed by a worse disaster – disaster capitalism,” said John Mussington, a school principal and marine biologist, one of two Barbudans who brought an interim injunction against the governments of Antigua and Barbuda to suspend work on the airport, that was undertaken immediately after Hurricane Irma, when residents had been forcibly evacuated.

“Until now we have been able to sustain our livelihoods on the island without jeopardising the future of our children and grandchildren. But now wealthy individuals are putting that world in danger” (Taylor, 2018; Boger & Perdikaris, 2019).

A proposed amendment to the Barbuda Land Act “was done deliberately and while Barbudans were traumatized, while they were kept away from their homes, while they were scattered, suffering post-traumatic stress” concluded Mussington (Klein & Brown, 2018).

Within days of the disaster, the Prime Minister of the dual-island state was proposing that Barbudans change their centuries old communal land system for a freehold title system (Scruggs, 2017, December 6). In December of 2017, an amendment to the Barbuda Land Act was presented in Antigua and Barbuda’s House of Representatives. According to Klein and Brown, it “includes changes that entirely reverse the meaning of the law,” noting that a clause that had declared Barbuda “owned in common by the people of Barbuda” was deleted and


replaced,” with the following: “The fundamental purpose of the Act is to grant to Barbudans the right to purchase the [land]” (Klein & Brown, 2018).

As a distinctly-governed island with shallow soil that determined agricultural methods such that slaves were managed differently than those on Antigua, the island thus has a

longstanding cultural heritage regarding land ownership (Frank; Boger et al, 2014; Boger &

Perdikaris, 2019). It continues to integrate traditions from Africa, whereby residents still

practice some land traditions continued by descendants of slaves. (Frank, 2017; Perdikaris, 2013) Mackenzie Frank, commenting on the 1979 discussions regarding the independence of Antigua and Barbuda, notes that “the two islands would have had to have a constitution that reflected their own cultural, political and economic interests,” such as Antigua’s freehold system and Barbuda’s communal land tradition (p. 50).

Barbudan slaves may have been permitted more freedom than those enslaved on other Caribbean islands, but they still rejected subjugation, and researchers Perdikaris et al. in, “The Caves of Barbuda’s Eastern Coast: Long Term Occupation, Ethnohistory and Ritual,” (2013) discovered evidence of what appears to be Obeah; the creole folk ritual activity “has elements of medicinal use as well as poisoning and magic” (p. 6). Because such practices were banned, and

“Its leaders were thought to have a corrupting influence on other enslaved people,” the traditions were practiced in secret, such as in the historic cave rituals documented by the study. Reticence to share knowledge about the tradition was evident in my studies, which speaks to an issue raised elsewhere in this thesis, the right for people not to share information. As Perdikaris notes, the necessity for secrecy regarding some cave-based traditions extends back to colonial times. In 2017, it was distressing to hear reports from Barbuda that those individuals who had hidden in


caves were smoked out by Antiguan authorities pushing to remove all Barbudans from the island.

Contemporary Barbudans still participate in “living from the land” practices during certain times of the year. This involves certain communal meals as well as individual retreats, or families camping, as noted in participant responses to my questionnaires. One feature of the continuing tradition is that “During the living from the land outings, all the protein cooked is either hunted or collected” The tradition provides opportunities for “entire families using time in the caves to connect with each other and friends…and exchanging stories” (p. 2).

Perdikaris is a long-time fixture of the island, working together with the community on archeological, scientific and educational efforts—so her access to local knowledge is not the typical portal through which a researcher first learns about a location. In January of 2017, I joined her tour of a cave. Learning about the island under the guidance of an already-trusted and knowledgeable academic expert on the locale immediately familiarized me with cultural

traditions and enabled me to jump right in during short field studies. The case study that follows is based on that foundation and the warm welcome and assistance of members of the Barbudan community.


Case Study of Community-Valued Cultural Elements: Climate-Vulnerable Barbuda Before and After Hurricane Irma

My 2018 research trip was a follow up visit after the September 2017 Category 5 hurricane, Irma, devastated the island of Barbuda and forced relocation of inhabitants to its sister island. In 2018, I introduced a template, “Valued Cultural Elements,” for climate-vulnerable cultures to anticipate dangers to cultural heritage and to identify key valued elements that they would wish to preserve. My research preceding Hurricane Irma also involved community engagement via an arts camp focusing on visually expressing, or visual arts-generated discussions of valued cultural elements. Members of the Barbudan community, both children and adults, communicated via drawing, painting, sculpture, discussion and writing. The participant cohort, an estimated 40, an actual 30, was an appropriate size for one researcher.

As I intend to continue this work in other communities after my studies—and hope that others will find my framework useful for similar work—this thesis will aim to provide a

theoretical as well as practical foundation for utilizing a) a Valued Cultural Elements survey, and b) place-specific visual arts outreach and involvement as a way of engaging climate-change vulnerable peoples in the identification, preservation and sustainable stewardship of their cultures in the event of adaptation or relocation. Underlying this approach is a fundamental belief that artistic expression, and its manifestation and preservation, is a vital force in sustaining human well-being.

A primary understanding, that grew stronger through my research, was that “culture” and thus “cultural heritage” involves and includes far more than contemporary definitions of the visual arts such as painting, sculpture and ceramics (Wilson, 1993, p. 40) as what

“anthropologists long ago defined as the unique mix of beliefs, practices, values, and institutions


shared by members of society,” (Brown, M. F., 2003, p. 4) and must conscientiously encompass the performing arts, traditions such as fishing and hunting, and “intangible heritage” as defined by UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003).

This expanded definition also applied to my study of Barbuda and its traditions of Carnival, hunting and cave celebrations emphasizing culinary arts.

Field Study I, August 2017

Table 1. Opening Questionnaire 1, Children, 2017, Field Study I What are your favorite forms of art on the island?

Examples of art can include drawing, cooking, dancing, singing, pottery making, or other arts:

How did you learn about this form or forms?

Cooking x4, Cooking soldier fungi, fryfish, lobster thermidor

I learn about this art form from my abuela, home, learn from others, going to class Historical sites (the caves and Martello Tower) At a museum

Drawing x6 Older siblings, school, family members and art

classes, self, school

Singing x2 Step sister, “it comes naturally”, school, home,

listening to others or the lyrics

Baking From home

Music: Playing bass at home, steel pan, drumming In school

Dancing School, home

Painting x2 “from living a great life by going and doing at

home,” father, grandmother

Sculptures History books

Making pottery Television

In Table 1, the children participating in the 2017 arts camp responded to the question:

What are your favorite forms of art on the island? Responses here indicated arts and traditions ranging from constructed and natural historical sites such as Martello Tower and the caves, to steel pan playing or singing, to the culinary traditions involving seafood such as lobster and soldier crab fungi. The latter food is a key part of the “living from the land” cave traditions, this one when hermit crabs migrate to the ocean to lay their eggs (Perdikaris, Personal

Communication, March 14, 2019). Responses to the follow up question reflected family, home- based to broader, school, museum or television-based learning regarding the question: How did


you learn about this form or forms? The artistic responses to valued cultural elements emphasized nature, such as these local trees, seen in Figures 8 and 9.

Figure 8. Ginepe Tree. Source: Martha Lerski

Figure 9. Palm Tree. Source: Martha Lerski


Opening questionnaire, field study I. Adults’ responses to the question, “How can you

teach others about the arts and traditions of your island, Barbuda? emphasized intergenerational transfer via the teaching of the young by the old, cultural classes, writing books, storytelling, having cultural fairs, and instruction through plays and drama. Additional questions and responses from Table 2 follow:

 What systems can be put in place to teach residents and others about the arts of Barbuda? Which art forms?

 What systems can be put in place to teach residents and others about the arts of Barbuda? Which art forms?

 What methods do you know of or would you suggest to keep records of Barbudan arts such as songs, dances, recipes, or festivals? Please feel free to mention other types of art forms that you think are worth preserving.

Adult participants named cooking, recipes, coal pots, yabba pots, music, dance, straw brooms, conch shells for blowing, calabash, cultural artefacts, and ornaments and jewelry from local materials as part of their cultural heritage. Suggested methods to document, teach about or preserve art forms included: writing books, integrating teaching about heritage in school curricula, youth forums, museums, communication on social media, workshops on steel pan tuning, and oral history interviewing including recordings and videos.

Drawings and paintings, children. Field study I. The significance of the land, and

nature was clear from the number of times that elements such as vegetation, ocean, birds and ocean were mentioned in Table 3. While I would caution about drawing strict conclusions from the numbers in the table, given that fruits were a subject of one of the warm up drawing


exercises, it does strike this New York City-based researcher that children in Barbuda drew what they have in their culture, which did not include pervasive American urban elements such as cars or movies. Here, trees topped the list of subjects depicted, followed by fruit, sun, ocean, bird (including the island’s Frigate bird), sky, beach/sand, clouds, shells, land animals (including turtles), and sea creatures—followed by grass, love/hearts, persons, flowers/plans, homes, flags, and bees/butterflies/caterpillars, boats, and fish.

In studies to identify valued cultural elements, I would suggest further caution against only documenting widely-reported or recorded elements. Caution could reduce chances of neglecting elements which might hold significance beyond quantitative measure, factors such as healing, hunting or fishing traditions only known to the initiated, fading but still valued religious traditions, endangered languages or dialects, or specialized art forms.

Sculpture and collaborative elements. Beyond results from the drawing and painting

noted above and in tables 1 and 2, the 2017 arts camp included work with clay, vast quantities of play dough that I made on the island, both plain and colored. During the second arts camp, in 2018, because of scarce resources over one year after Hurricane Irma, I was not able to make clay again because I did not have consistent access to supplies, electricity, or running water.

However, when working with clay in August of 2017, the children indirectly revealed one of their key cultural elements--a collaborative capacity through group work, which may possibly be linked to the island’s communal land structure.

After warmup and individual work with clay in 2017, and before engaging in group work for art, I asked whether the children prefer making art as individuals or together: Easier to make together—a unanimous response. Why? They responded that they can be more creative, can work together, and one person can do one thing and another a different part. I soon understood


that this was not isolated to this group of children, that they are part of a collaborative culture.

Among the sculpture that the children made were: a restaurant, making different items together and; a village, one student making a mansion and garden and another team joined in with the farm that they had made.

Among the subjects covered by students’ individual as well as group clay work were:

sandmen, coconut trees, a lighthouse, a coffin symbolizing a tradition of having wakes at home, a caterpillar, a clay pot with charcoal; local foods including patties of ground chicken and turkey, bacon, a wide variety of fruits including native pineapple and imported strawberries, bread, noodles, a clam with oyster, eels, sausage roll, hotdogs, pies, and a cake.

The adult cohort also made sculptures out of clay, which included a coal pot, depicted in Figure 14. Ancient coal pots can also be seen in the small museum on the island.


Table 2. Opening Questionnaire, Adults, 2017 How can you teach others about the arts and traditions of your island, Barbuda?

What systems can be put in place to teach residents and others about the arts of Barbuda? Which art forms?

What methods do you know of or would you suggest to keep records of Barbudan arts such as songs, drawings, photographs, dances, recipes, or festivals? Please feel free to mention other types of art forms that you think are worth preserving.

Using different ways of teaching/cultural classes x2, Teach in schools, Stories from elderly/old teaching the young x4, older and younger generations making ancient arts--straw brooms x2, yabba pots etc.

together, Talking about, Writing about, Living it out x2, workshops, cultural fairs x2, exhibitions, family reunions,

Storytelling, Family storytelling, Family passing down traditions such as recipes, Document information, Document Songs, Festivals, Write books, Have plays and drama, Arts and Crafts fairs, Traditional food fairs, Exchanging ideas

Record keeping via writing books x2, Using the internet, Making or preserving histories x2, Make it a part of/integrate into school curriculum x3 (cooking, local language, music, singing and dancing, painting, straw broom) in History and Social Studies, Have youth forums, Museums to preserve cultural artefacts, Writing in a book, poem, song, On social media, Put on school programs and plays, Create educational brochures, Documentation, Making history, Writing books

Clothing, Coal pot making, straw brooms x2, locally made jewelry x2, ornaments from local materials, conch shell for blowing x2, calabash x2, dishes, bags x2, crochet, Oral history/interviews of older persons x 2 (recordings/documentation), Steel pan tuning workshops, cultural festivals, Pamphlets, Preserve traditions of making straw hats and brooms, coal pot, yabba, Hair styling, Making cloth, Books, Computers, Videos x2,





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